A big nosed plastic roman soldier guarding the entrance of the cinémathèque

Les lieux speciaux de Paris

I recently visited a friend who’s working as a barista on weekends and because she was busy took a little walk in the Bastille area. Not far from the little coffee shop there’s a cat café!

I also came across rue de Lappe, which has a lot of restaurants and bars. Shuttered for the day they look quite interesting.

Among them is a Caribbean restaurant where you can get a Bokit – a sandwich in fried bread.

And a bar called only rum that has the interior design of a jungle. There are fake plants and vines everywhere, you have to duck below them to get to the bar. The place is lighted entirely in green and has a citric smell to it that was still noticeable in my clothes the next day.

The drinks are served in preserving jars and are good, but nothing special, but the atmosphere definitely is. Unfortunately the bar keeper is a grumpy bastard who put up a sign that asks you not to tutoyer him i.e. not use the informal tu when talking to him, like duzen in German. There are other signs around telling you that you don’t have the right to touch this and change that.

Last weekend P visited Paris for the 4th time. I’d been seeing ads for the Goscinny exhibition on the metro for a while but as it’s in the cinémathèque, I always assumed that it’s in fact a show of films by Goscinny. There’s even a boar on a spit in front of the cinema. Turns out it’s not just a cinema, the cinémathèque also has an exhibition space. I’ve been living across the place for 9 months now and never even noticed it! We went to “visit our childhood friends” like P. called it: Goscinny drew Asterix, Lucky Luke and Petit Nicholas.

Afterwards we had coffee and cake at the cinematheque’s café, together with a dozen screamy children and their parents for Sunday brunch.

I had been telling P about Poké bowls and Buddha bowls. They have become fashionable a few months ago and I finally tried a Poké bowl in summer – It’s a Hawaiian dish consisting of raw fish and vegetables on rice. The Buddha version is vegetarian and sometimes the rice is replaced by other grains.

We wanted to have a Buddha Bowl lunch on Friday in a place recommended by a friend not far from Saint Lazare. But we left home so late we arrived after all the lunch places had closed – In France it’s still very uncommon to eat outside of meal times and especially lunch places close at 14:30. We ended up finding a place with good tartes and spent the rest of the afternoon walking to Montmarte. We came across a small Colombian shop selling Colombian coffee. It was tiny and you had to ring a door bell just to get in. Inside were two tiny women speaking rapid Spanish with each other. We also saw a chocolate place that had monkeys made from chocolate in the shop window.

A monkey made from chocolate
We went inside to check out their chocolates and ended up buying a cookie, a quinoa energy ball and a sweet on a stick consisting of meringue and gianduja covered in matcha frosting. The back of the shop was partinioned off by a glass wall and behind it you could watch the sweets being made by the chocolatier and we all know how much I love watching people prepare food.

On Sunday night we went to a pizza place that has fried pizza. They claim it’s a neapolitan speciality, but I’m not so sure I believe it. Gergö had to have it, of course, and it wasn’t bad. “It’s just like filled langos”, was P. comment and I think she might be right.

A golden brown bit crescent of fried dough.

I only added the photo to keep up my food photo quota.

During this dinner our Italian friend A mentioned that there is a Mozza Bar in Paris, where you can try different kinds of Mozzarella cheese. I’ve started to make a list of places I want to visit and cafés and restaurants I want to try. The cat café and the Mozza bar are on this list, together with a place that has minus 8 degrees and this list of the best desserts of Paris.

I already went to one on the list: the Japanese French Patissier. They have everything in a matcha version, but I actually took the yuzu tarte. I couldn’t have said if it’s any different from a lemon tarte, but it was a very good lemon tarte and very good green tea, in a fancy fancy little tea salon surrounded by chocolate with black sesame and matcha.


Les marchés de Paris

When I told people in Palaiseau that we’d be moving to Paris a few of them commented that that is understandable. We are young after all, and want to go out at night, to dance at a boite. Ever since we moved, I live in fear of having to go dancing. But it’s just a regular Saturday night we spend like any couple would: in front of their respective computers.

Gergö will start work on March 1 and I on March 6, so I keep thinking we should run our errands and do our chores before that. And maybe get some sightseeing done and get to know the area while we are at it.

On Friday we went to a market on Place d’Italie. We wandered around the stalls, checking out the produce. I just really like to look and marvel at the fancy seafood and the stage of decomp on some of the cheeses.

We found a fancy boulanger at the market. Of course we had to try the pistachio apricot bread. It’s regular rye bread, I think. You can’t taste the pistachio, but I love the colour

We also stopped by a couple of those shops that sell “Klumpert” as I like to call it. Bits and bobs for the household. I feel like it’s easier to resist the urge to buy stuff we don’t need right after moving. When the memory of the insane amount of stuff we schlepped around is still fresh. But we still needed a few things for the kitchen.

We didn’t find what we needed but while we were on the other side of the river, we walked along the quai de Ivry. There’s a street named after René Goscinny.

Ils sont fous ces Romains.

In German the sentence is “Die spinnen, die Römer!”, while Obelix taps his head, making the sound “tock, tock tock”. In English apparently it’s “These Romans are crazy“. The French phrase, “Ils sont fous ces Romains!” has its own Wikipedia entry. And the exclamation mark is part of the entry title.

I have some projects to finish up before I start to work in March and I should be studying a few new things, so I was going to spend the weekend working / procrastinating. But Gergö went out to shop for food and saw that there was a flea market – a brocante just around the corner. I love flea markets, even though the experience is slightly marred by Gergö sighing and huffing next ot me and occasionally saying “wir brauchen nix!” when I look at stuff.

 


Nous sommes fous, nous Autrichiens

My brother and niece came to visit us this past week. Gergö and I had really been looking forward to the visit, because we would finally have an excuse to go to Parc Astérix. It’s an amusement park, just like Disneyland, but with Asterix and Obelix.

chute de menhirs. danger, obelisk falling.

So the day after their arrival, the hottest day of August and during one of the busiest weeks of the park, we set out to Picardie. Gergö also invited a colleague from work who knows all the ins and outs of the park and the fastest, most extreme rides. He used to have a season ticket when he was younger and he still has a stomach made of steel, I suspect.

welcome to parc asterix

I love, love, love the details that went into the park’s design. I remember queueing in Disneyland about 18 years ago, I think for a wild west themed ride and admiring the set design as well. It’s not just the buildings, everything is on message.

 

We started out with the newer part of the park, Oz Iris, a very fast, pretty extreme ride. I declined and stayed outside, to admire the decoration and take silly hat selfies.

One of my favourite rides was the Discobélix. You sit on a discus while it spins and at the same time goes along a wave like movement out onto a little lake. The queues are designed in a very clever way. Even though they state the waiting times clearly at the beginning, the line doesn’t look so bad. That is until you go around another corner, up the stairs and into a little building.

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The Obelix statue in the background about to throw the discus is a nice touch, I think. Also the broken columns from his last big throw.

discobelix waiting room

In the waiting room, there are Obelix’ shoes, his bag and a tally of throws of his opponents. His discus is still flying…

While Ben and Ella did the smart thing and went for ice cream and a water ride, Gergö, Hugo and I queued for Zeus’ Thunder – the longest and fastest of the rides in the park. We queued for the ride for at least 45 minutes, and Hugo patiently tried to teach me to pronounce Zeus in French. Voiced ssess are not my strength. Sadly I missed the selfie opportunity of Zeus watching over my shoulder.

20160816_152651 zeusssss

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I did get a nice view waiting for the next ride, though.

The ride was really very intense, and the photo they took of us during the ride was hilarious. I had my mouth wide open and my eyes were about as wide as Zeus’ up there. I was still too cheap to pay up the 11 Euros to take it home, but it would have been a great reminder of the reason why I was hoarse the next day.

We also took the ride with the 7 loopings. Usually a looping is over so fast you barely register it. It’s not like that, if there are seven of them.

7 loopings. Seven!

The park closes at 7 pm but with all the queueing involved, the day was over pretty fast. Gergö and I are already planning to go back in October when it’s not as blistering hot. Apparently the Hallowe’en programme is pretty cool, too and maybe there are even fewer people.

Bye bye Astérix, see you soon!

Bye bye Astérix, see you soon!

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Quoi de neuf?

So, what’s up here in lovely Palaiseau?

On Wednesday, I got a bit carried away with the food shopping. Our local giant retailer is already in Christmas mode, I think. It has spread out to the parking space, where it’s selling coke in bulk and advent calendars. I actually checked the internet if there was any other kind of festivity coming up, because I didn’t believe it. I can be naïve like that.

Because of the upcoming Star Wars film, there’s also a whole lot of Star Wars themed merchandise. I managed to resist the Star Wars cookie cutters, and bought lollipos instead, in case there are any trick and treaters coming our way. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. In order to reward myself for resisting the cookie cutters, I bought a Star Wars canvas bag. I’m not sure my system is working very well.

Gergö said "Aw, look, with a foreword by Anthony Daniels!"

Gergö said “Aw, look, with a foreword by Anthony Daniels!”

I also spotted a pintade and bought it. My friend Stephen had shared an article with me about French opening hours which prominently featured the birds. They are called guinea fowl in English and Perlhühner in German and I had never heard about eating them before but apparently they are a thing in France. For a couple of minutes in Auchan, I forgot that I don’t really know how to handle an entire bird and that I hate cutting them up. So while it looked appetizing when it came out of the oven, eating it was a real mess.

Just like a chicken, but smaller and with darker skin.

Just like a chicken, but smaller and with darker skin.

On Thursday, I was planning to buy a pair of jeans. In an ongoing silly Thomas Bernhard joke, Gergö then suggested we should go have dinner afterwards. That turned into dinner and a movie with Gergö’s work friends at the large Mall at les Halles. We watched the Martian (Seul sur Mars) in VOSTF (version originale sous-titres français). It was fun and there are plans to watch Star Wars together as well, but Gergö insists on watching the Force Awakens in English without subtitles. I haven’t figured out if that’s even a thing here.

Of course I didn’t buy any jeans – I only found high waisted skinny jeans all afternoon and that’s not going to happen. I finally dared to go into Forever 21, though. I worried for a second of being kicked out for being so obiviously out of the age range, but I think they rely on the music to scare off old people like me ;-)

I also saw a lot of Star Wars merch at the mall.

Not your father.

Not your father.

And for the first time, I saw a deaf checkout clerk. He was signing with his customers. There was a sign next to his checkout stating that he is malentendant and to please look at him while talking. I didn’t want to take a picture because rude. I just think the visibility of it is great – I never see physically impaired people working in service in Austria. I wonder if Austria is just generally much worse with regards to integration (whatever that might mean)?

This week, I also had my annual moment of “I can’t believe it gets dark this early” when coming out of the shop.

chemin de l'yvette

As nice as the path along the Yvette is, the lighting is often bad and that can get creepy.

Oh, and I read a book. In French! Okay, so it was a comic book and only had 48 pages, but still. I learned many new words, like the word for boar, and magic potion.

asterix

And there were some piracy jokes in there, that I almost but not quite understood on my first attempt. Somebody posted on twitter (I think) that there was also a Twitter joke in the new Asterix, but that went completely over my head. Oh yes, there is (Spoiler alert).